Vatican City: Tips for Visiting

The small state of the Vatican City is one constant question mark for the visitor. Concerns are many, about how to get inside, how much they will pay and many more. In this article, we will inform you about everything, so that you make the best choice.

First:

Searching on the internet, you will find dozens of “offers” for quick access, cheap tickets and other “bargains”. It would be best to close your ears to fake offers and know that there is an entrance fee only for the Sistine Chapel & the Museums, while for St. Peter it is free (there is a small fee for the dome).


Lines & access to the Sistine Chapel & the Museums:


The second matter is the endless lines and the way of access. Here you should know that you have two options. The first one is that you have to wait in line to buy the ticket and get inside the Sistine Chapel & the Museums. The second one is to book your tickets online from the official website, without middlemen and hidden charges. On the website, you can pick the time and date that suits you and, after you have printed the tickets, the only thing left is to skip the line and move towards the entrance! On your own…Without middlemen and “inflated” ticket prices..

 

Read the travel guide about Rome Here

 

Lines & access to Saint Peter:


The third important matter is access to Saint Peter’s Basilica. Here, too, you have two options. The first one is to be there around 10 in the morning on a weekday and, after a security check (15-20 minutes wait), enter the church without any extra cost. The second one is to book the Skip Line ticket and enter at the appointed time from the entrance marked on the ticket.❗Important: If you plan on visiting it during rush hours, prefer the Skip Line ticket, as the wait might take up to 2 hours!

👉Travelen recommends: The best choice (although the most expensive) is to book the combo ticket for breakfast για in the gardens & entrance to the Sistine Chapel-Museums, two hours before the official opening! The cost may be hefty, but seeing the Museum and the unique pieces of the Sistine Chapel in private, is a life experience. Otherwise, you will have to get jammed with the thousands of other visitors trying to get photographed and see the exhibits.

 
Sistine Chapel – Museums

Across a distance of 2km (!), the Museums of the Vatican will impress you with the amount and the history of the artworks. Do not try to see them all, as you will have to devote many hours. Organize the walk (with the map that you will be given at the entrance) according to what interests you. The museums may stretch over a vast area, but what steals the show is the small Sistine Chapel. It is an oblong hall with quite the history, as it is decorated with pieces by prominent artists. The walls are adorned with one of Michelangelo’s greatest artworks “The Last Judgment”, while on the dome there is the equally famous work “The Creation of Adam”. Total silence prevails in the hall and photographs are forbidden. Finally, it is worth mentioning that it is the place where the Conclave elects the new Pope.

Open: Monday-Sunday 09:00-18:00, Closed: Sundays, 6 January, 11 February, 17 April, 1 May, 29 June, 15 και 16 August, 1 November, 8, 25 και 26 December.
Notice: Every last Sunday of the month open 09:00-14:00 (final entry 12.30 p.m.) with free entrance!
Cost: 16€, Reduced 8€

 

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St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the “home” of the Popes. It is Christianity’s largest church and it is said that it was built atop the tomb of Apostle Peter. A walk around its interior will make you grasp its grandeur, imposing bearing and uniqueness. But what stands out is another masterpiece by the great artist Michelangelo, its enormous dome, which is visible from many spots in the city. The dome was built with the ambition of bringing Man as close as possible to God! Important: Read all the Tips, so that you are informed and do not fall victims to the biggest tourist scam of Italy that listens to the name of Vatican City!

Suggested visit time: 5-6 hours
Open: Basilica: October–March 07:00-18:30, April – September 07:00-19:00. Dome: opens 08:00 closes one hour before the Basilica.
Cost: Basilica: Free, Dome: 8€


Extra Tips:

  • Do not book tickets through “secondary” companies that come up at the top of Google searches. You ALWAYS pay more.
  • Visit first the Vatican’s museums and then the Sistine Chapel.
  • If you haven’t booked a ticket (skip line) for the Vatican’s museums, visit them early in the afternoon. Visit the Sistine Chapel around 17:00. You will get in quickly and meet a far smaller crowd.
  • Women’s more relaxed fashion choices are not that objectionable for the Vatican’s Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
  • If you visit it on a weekday 09:30-10:00 you will only wait for about 10-20 minutes. (Do not believe all the myths you hear!)

  • Women should dress appropriately; otherwise they will be denied entry (Saint Peter’s Basilica).
  • Prefer to get to the dome first (with an amazing 360° view) and then visit the church.
  • For the dome you will enter through the right entrance. If you opt for climbing the 511 steps on foot, you will pay 2€ less and you will not have to wait in line (for the elevator).
  • If you are in the Sistine Chapel, exit through the right back door and sidestep the 3+-hour line for St. Peter. Have your own “Skip Line” with a tip that you will find almost nowhere!
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